Since the onset of the Great Recession I have been visiting Noni’s Sherwood Grille, located on Livernois between 7 and 8 mile roads, just in time to catch the Breakfast Specials and, with any luck, the opportunity to sit in a booth that I think offers one of the best views in the city.
Early mornings, when sunrise makes its way over the tree lines of Palmer Park and Sherwood Forest – the neighborhood for which the restaurant is named – then down along Livernois (also known as the Avenue of Fashion), where buildings once housed boutiques and bakeries in the full bloom of Detroit’s magnificence, are really quite lovely here when illuminated by the glow of amber light.
Seated with a fresh cup of coffee at the south-west corner of Noni’s it’s easy to envision a time when this part of the city flourished with shoppers and passersby. Though the neighborhood has fallen into disrepair over the years the sidewalks are still lined with trees and, until this writing, a grassy tree-lined strip runs down the center of the boulevard; a remnant of Detroit’s French-English heritage and attitude toward pleasant motor and walk ways that separate it from the congested thoroughfares found in nearly every suburb.
While I do love the view through all four seasons I must admit to being partial to its winterscapes. A hot breakfast at Noni’s with snow falling just outside the window is a great experience. Of course, this is not something a reader in summer wants to consider but it is good to know this little spot is enjoyable all year round.
I have breakfasted here with my father, have introduced it to my brother (featured image) my wife, and several friends. The staff has always been kind and courteous, the food consistently good, and the coffee has kept flowing …
Corned beef hash and eggs is my favorite dish on the morning menu. The Grille uses quality meat, potato and green pepper, and the cook gets the eggs right. I’ve also ordered bacon and eggs, pancakes and sausage (both links and patties), and have generally been pleased with everything – though, as a connoisseur of toast, I must admit the restaurant could make an upgrade to its bread selection. For this reason, I often take an order of grits with my meal. While most people I know add salt, pepper, hot sauce and, sometimes, cheese to theirs I am guilty of having mine with butter and honey, like a true Northerner …
Noni’s isn’t fancy but it is neighborly. Being treated as part of the community makes one feel good. I hope that it, along with several other interesting businesses that have hung on through hard times, will continue to do so when change comes.
You may have noticed the construction barrels and barriers in the featured image. Disconcerting, to say the least. And, a few recent trips along the boulevard has revealed a nightmare of road crews ripping up the green features that gave this neighborhood its distinct feel.
When asked, workers told me they are widening the street and lining it with flower pots. The boulevard will be gone. I guess that’s what city officials call progress. While I am hopeful for something in keeping with the neighborhood’s aesthetic I loathe the loss of this unique stretch of road.
Will that stop me from enjoying breakfast at Noni’s?
Of course, not.
But, I’m sure going to miss that view.